Beacon Street Diary

May 16, 2008

Jessica Steytler will be offering her advice at the UCC Massachusetts Conference WebFest on May 31. She will be discussing "Intra-church communication through your site" during one of the morning slots. Featured tools will include: Wikis and the NING social networking site, and Google applications. There will be a lot of opportunity for collaboration and asking questions.

May 14, 2008

There is still time to register for the workshops scheduled for May 20, 2008. "Where do I start?" a seminar on research using the collections of the Congregational Library and "Records Management" a seminar for church historians and other record keepers are each a half day. You can sign up for one or both. Lunch is on your own. See our website for registration or email administrative assistant Sarah James

May 9, 2008

Our Brown Bag Book Discussion will take place Tuesday, May 13 at 12 Noon in the Library's Pratt Room. Please bring your lunch and join us for a lively discussion of one of the infamous Salem Witch Trial judges. If time and weather permit, we will take a short walk to the crypt of the Sewall family in the Granary Burial Ground behind us. Or you can look out our Reading Room windows and view the site.

Here are some links to reviews of this book. We look forward to hearing your comments:

New York Times Review of Eve LaPlante's Salem Witch Judge.

Eve LaPlante's website

Boston Globe Review of Salem Witch Judge.

May 2, 2008

Beginning June 2, 2008, the Library will be open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM and Wednesday from 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM. We will be continuing to offer later hours by appointment.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

April 23, 2008

We are pleased to announce that we have received a grant in the amount of $18,000 from the H.W. Wilson Foundation. This grant will assist us in our pilot digitization project to digitize Hal Worthley's inventory of church records and begin digitizing some of the Seventeenth century records from Massachusetts churches in our archives. We thank the Wilson Foundation for their generous support.

April 17, 2008

Check out our website for all our up coming events. We have book discussions in May, June, and July. Our popular workshops on records management and research are back in May. Jess is begging a workshop on Technology for Churches. Our library tours continue through out the summer and Peggy will begin offering walking tours of Congregational Boston in June. In July, Peggy will teach a course on Congregational History. Keep watching for more information.

April 15, 2008

Archivist Jessica Steytler will be teaching a class for the Simmons Graduate School for Information and Library Science (GSLIS) Continuing Education program here at the library on May 3, 9am-12:30pm

Using Primary Sources: a Tutorial for Educators

Learning about history can involve more than just reading a textbook—and should! There is a rich and varied world in manuscripts and archive collections that history books can never present. However, finding a path through these collections can be intimidating, particularly when there are so few opportunities to navigate this 'raw material' of history. This workshop will walk educators through the wilderness of an archive—highlighting effective research techniques, pitfalls and stumbling blocks, and gems that they can share with their classes. Participants will try out some practical applications within the Congregational Library based on the theories discussed during class.

Please contact Kris Liberman at GSLIS CE to sign up. Deadline April 30.

April 11, 2008

"Salem Witch Judge" coverPlease join us on May 13 at 12 noon for a lively discussion of Eve LePlante's book, Salem Witch Judge: The Life and Repentance of Samuel Sewall. Check out Eve LaPlante's website for book discussion questions and hear and see her interview on WGBH.

We have several copies of Sewall's Diary on display at the Library as well as books on the Witch Trials.

Please visit our website for additional events and book discussions. Questions? Email us at

April 7, 2008

Last week we had two groups come in for tours. The first was the Women's Guild with their pastor from the First Congregational Church of Rochester, MA. The ladies presented the library with a copy of "A History of the First Congregational Church of Rochester, 1703-2003" and a beautiful 300th Anniversary commemorative plate. We were delighted to share the history of our library and collections and have the group view some of our rare treasures from our archive including some unusual Bibles from our Pratt Collection.

The next day we hosted a group of librarians from the Boston Regional Library System. They also had the opportunity to feast their eyes on our outstanding collections. We discussed the history and services of the Library, Congregationalism, and the history of Boston. Phyllis Payne, a librarian from Mugar Library at Boston University, presented the library with a copy of "The Federated Church of Norfolk: a Bicentennial History".

Group tours are always welcome. To make arrangements, please contact Claudette Newhall or Peggy Bendroth or call 617-523-0470.

We also continue our twice monthly tours on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month. No reservations for these tours are necessary.

April 1, 2008

This summer, Peggy Bendroth, our resident church historian, will be conducting a five-week exploration of the Congregational Christian tradition. We'll talk about worship, music, theology, social outreach--as much as we can manage in our all-too-limited time frame! We will even find time to walk around downtown Boston and learn about the local Congregational history there.

The class will meet on Tuesday afternoons during the month of July 2008, and cover as much key material as we can through reading, discussion, and maybe even a few lecture presentations. Come one, come all! No previous historical expertise is required or assumed. Registration materials are in the works -- for now, direct inquiries to Peggy at 617-523-0470 x5.